In a recent interview published in the Times of Israel, Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett affirmed clearly that the international community would, with time, accept the entire colonial structure which has wreaked so much destruction upon Palestinians. Seemingly emboldened by Trump’s insistence on moving the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Bennett is viewing the initial weeks of the presidency as a bonus for Israel, during which it can outline its plans without hindrance.
Envisioning ease of accomplishment, Bennett expressed the notion that Israel’s annexation plans and claims to Jerusalem would ultimately garner acceptance as an indirect ramification of the direct coercion and violence inflicted upon Palestinians. With reference to the occupied West Bank, Bennett refuted the reality of colonial occupation: “East Jerusalem, and Judea and Samaria, what many call the West Bank, are not occupied territory, in the sense that we didn’t take it away from any sovereign state.” Such sophistry flies in the face of international laws and conventions.
The right-wing minister provided further examples of how he expects the rest of the world to acquiesce over Israel’s land grabs and colonisation. “At this point in time not one country in the world accepts that the Western Wall is part and parcel of Israel. Does the world accept that the Golan Heights is part of Israel? No? But we do. We Israelis do, and with time the world will come to accept it.”
Beneath the projected scenario that Trump’s presidency might provide fewer obstacles to Israeli colonisation and violation of Palestinian rights, the truth is that a perverted ambition to expand its territory is what has sustained Israel since its foundation on Palestinian land in 1948. The international community has not only endorsed this ambition but also fuelled it by adopting the same philosophy when speaking about safeguarding Palestinian rights. By eliminating colonisation from the narrative and ensuring that each Israeli violation is viewed in isolation, stripped of context and consequence, the international community through its institutions has long given proof not only of acceptance, but agreement and collaboration in sustaining Israel’s presence and criminality.
Such a dynamic also explains why Palestinians are continuously expected to resign themselves to dependency even after having gained access to the possibilities offered by international institutions. The perpetual application of selectivity is exacerbated, while simultaneously creating more dead avenues through which awareness can be raised, albeit to no avail. The agenda will not be decided by Trump, despite the fact that his belligerence so far has shown clearly that he is not averse to enhancing the ramifications of colonialism.
It is, in fact, much earlier decisions that brought Israel into existence and have shaped it today. Here again, while Israel and the international community in the form of the UN have adopted different strategies, both entities are still serving the same purpose. Israel has gleaned the history it created and constructed a self-serving narrative, sustained by academia and propagated as truth despite very obvious fabrications.
The international community, on the other hand, has bludgeoned the definition of history into an ambiguous term to be used conveniently as and when necessary. Such intentional consigning of Palestinian history and narrative to oblivion has been a bonus for Israel. In the hands of Bennett, who has used his role as education minister to influence many aspects of colonial practice, the commitment to oblivion by the international community will be an even stronger weapon, to the complete detriment of the Palestinians.